Sunday, September 12, 2010

The Leaves are Beginning to Change

I am very content right now, sitting and watching baseball at the end of a very pleasant and warm autumn day. Our friends K and D drove us to the Meijer grocery store at the outskirts of Urbana this morning, and we were able to buy all those heavy things - like cat litter and potatoes and five-pound bags of basmati rice - that are a trouble to purchase and then tote home either by bus or by bicycle. We also got the fixings for sausage and spinach lasagna, which is now baking in the oven, while we wait for the new episode of Mad Men to come on.

After we were finished grocery shopping, we returned to our apartment on Green Street for a lunch of turkey sandwiches and a siesta. Then the four of us drove over to the University of Illinois Arboretum, which K described a little bit like, "a golf course without any of the holes or anything." Which is quite accurate, although that doesn't mean that it's not also incredibly lovely. We saw what looked like an impromptu wedding, complete with a groom in a black t-shirt and blue jeans; a swarm of dragonflies and swallows were feasting on the gnats and mosquitos, looking a little like the battle of Midway; visited the Japan house* and its tea gardens; and saw not only the mating habits of undergrads, but also those of dragonflies**, yellow jackets, and a couple of turtles swimming around in a pond. All in all, it was a very enjoyable and a thoroughly entertaining afternoon.

There are lots of other things to share, although now only very briefly. Work is challenging yet rewarding; last week I taught a student how the universe works, and he called me a symbol. I didn't breathe during the Ducks game on Saturday until the second quarter; I still have some serious concerns about their defense, and now because they throttled a really mediocre Tennessee team, everyone suddenly has them at the top of their ballots. Also, I'm re-reading Plato's "Phaedo" right now. Philosophy is the study of death, and a philosopher is someone who is constantly rehearsing dying. Huh. Of course, this seems to me to perfectly coincide with the article in this week's New Yorker by Roland Barthes, "Notes on mourning." "Never again, never again! And yet there's a contradiction; 'never again' isn't eternal, since you yourself will die one day. 'Never again' is the expression of an immortal."

* Huh, I wonder if that explains the bizarre Midway reference.
** I feel like every time I see two or more dragonflies, they're always having sex.

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